This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Atlanta, Georgia where one of GBH’s newest voices, Austin L. Ray, calls home. Whenever I bring on a new writer, I tend to fly out and spend some time with them, hitting their favorite spots, shooting breweries they want to tell stories about, and getting a real sense of the place through their eyes. And that’s because I don’t just want beer writers on GBH — I want people with a perspective and a connection to the beer in their backyard.
Austin was a wonderful host, and his love of Atlanta’s unique past and present comes through in the way he writes about beer — but also music, local history, and other cultural threads he tends to explore.
We spent the better part of Memorial Day weekend visiting some of the area’s oldest and newest breweries, one of them in their very first week of operation, bouncing between Athens, Decatur, and greater Atlanta. We spent time in bars, restaurants, even at a backyard BBQ at the home of one of the area’s best chefs. I’ve never had a better, more personable guide to a city’s food and beverage culture.
Along the way, we turned on the mics and had a conversation with these brewers and beer industry folks, trying to get at the heart of what makes beer in Georgia tick.
At the end I sat down with Austin himself to reflect on it all. And I’m excited about the stories he’ll be sharing on GBH in the months following.